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Latest Seagate SAS HDD is 'poor man’s SSD'

Seagate this week launched its highest capacity 10,000 rpm 2.5-inch, 12-gigabit per second SAS hard disk drive (HDD), which includes a dash of flash. The Enterprise Performance 10K HDD is designed for enterprise workloads such as databases, online transaction processing, virtual desktop infrastructure, and file and print servers.

The new Seagate SAS HDD comes in 2.4 TB, 1.8 TB, 1.2 TB and 600 GB capacity models, and infuses 16 GB of flash cache to speed reads. Barbara Craig, Seagate senior product marketing manager of enterprise HDDs, said the Enterprise Performance 10K HDD also adds firmware-based advanced write caching that can improve random writes by approximately 60% over Seagate’s prior generation.

“It’s kind of a poor man’s SSD,” Craig said.

Craig said the flash cache makes the new Seagate SAS HDD three times faster than previous 10K drives without flash. The advanced write caching technology uses enhanced algorithms and 8 MB of non-volatile cache and media cache, she said.

The Seagate SAS HDD has a five-year warranty, a mean time between failures of 2 million hours, and supports the company’s ninth generation of magnetic recording technology and enterprise firmware.

Can HDDs hold off SSDs in enterprise?

The high-speed SAS HDD market tends to be one where enterprises consider flash solid-state drives (SSDs), but Seagate claims its new HDD would hold appeal for a range of workloads with enterprise users.

“They may be turned off by availability of flash right now. It’s hard to get, and the prices are high,” Craig said. “Maybe some small- to medium-sized businesses or even large data centers, the performance on the 10K drive is close enough, and the cost is that much more impressive for some customers.”

John Rydning, an IDC research vice president for HDDs, said he does  not envision enterprise SSDs reaching price-per-GB parity with 10,000 rpm HDDs over the next five years. Rydning predicted sustained demand for 10,000 rpm HDDs for storage workloads where they provide “good enough” performance. He wrote via an email that 10,000 rpm HDDs continue to provide a “good balance of performance and value for several storage workloads.”

The new Seagate SAS HDD ships with a variety of different model numbers. The 2.4 TB HDD is model ST2400MM0129, without encryption. The self-encrypting model that supports the Federal Information Processing Standard is model ST2400MM0149.

The HDDs support Seagate’s FastFormat technology to enable customers to switch between applications with block sizes of 512 bytes and 4 KB.

The new Seagate SAS HDD is currently shipping to major OEMs such as Super Micro and Huawei for qualification, according to Craig. She said channel shipments will begin in the middle of August.